Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Ancient galaxy discovered by astronomer from the University of Leicester

An ancient galaxy shining with the light of 300 trillion suns has been discovered by an astronomer from the University of Leicester.

This artist's concept depicts the current record holder for the most luminous galaxy in the universe. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The object, known as WISE J224607.57-052635.0, is smaller than our own Milky Way, yet emits 10,000 times more energy.

The most luminous galaxy found to date has been discovered using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, commonly known as WISE.

An astronomer from the University of Leicester, Professor Andrew Bain,has been involved with NASA's WISE since 2001 and is now a co-author of the new report into this discovery.

With an estimated age of 12.5 billion years, it is also one of the oldest galaxies to be discovered.

We are looking at a very intense phase of galaxy evolution. This dazzling light may be from the main growth spurt in the size of the galaxy’s black hole"

– Chao-Wei Tsai of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California

A black hole refers to an area in space where the pull of gravity is so high that even light can not escape. Immense black holes are common at the cores of galaxies, but according to NASA, finding one this large which is so far back in the cosmos is rare.

The team will now continue its study of ELIRGs, using the WISE telescope, to help them understand the evolution of the Universe's early galaxies.